I arrived at my apartment in Shanghai around 2 AM from my break in the Philippines the other day. I haven’t really had a good rest yet before coming to the office that same morning but I felt good nonetheless. I was happy. I am happy. I took a vacation leave from work for 7 days plus weekends to attend to family matters – biological and spiritual family matters – and it was very fruitful.
I have met many sweet familiar faces and mingled with them during my vacation but what most of them didn’t know was that I needed that break to clear my head and listen to my heart. I think I have reached a point in my life that I need to make “this” significant decision. 🙂 So before flying back to Shanghai, I made sure that I will be in my paradise-like moment and of course with angelic friends with me! (Anne and Ella, you owe me big time for saying this! Haha) You know that feeling of away from the city and noises of the world and just enjoy the beauty of God’s creation? That is exactly what I needed and exactly what I got! 🙂
So there, I, along with my good friends, visited Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. I have been meaning to visit this island for years now and I am so glad I finally made it. Interestingly, my 2 friends were also first timers and being in that place was a dream come true! Though this trip didn’t start “good”, 2 hours flight delayed etc, what happened next until our last day of this journey was undeniably awesome!
The hotel: Balay Tuko Garden Inn
I picked this place from Agoda’s website because of the reviews. They said they have a great customer service and true enough; the staffs were very friendly and very accommodating. I say, it is highly recommended for a good price. We arrived at around 7 PM at the hotel and I was really tired from long hours of waiting at the airport but their welcoming ambiance helped me to relax.
First Dinner: Ka Inato
This place was recommended to us by the hotel manager of Balay Tuko. It is just about 7-10 minutes ride via tricyle from the hotel. We ordered chicken sisig, mixed veggies in curry sauce plus drinks and we loved it! They cooked it very differently from the usual Filipino dish and it was perfect to our taste! Yummy! Another highly recommended for a good price!
The most-awaited: Underground River
Technically, we only had one whole day for activities and the travel agency in Palawan suggested Underground River among the other tourist spots as it is the highlight of Puerto Princessa. I also wanted to visit El Nido and do island hopping but it is not feasible due to the limited time.
Anyway, so the van picked us up in our hotel the following morning and from there; it took us 2 hours to reach Sabang Pier. That was not the main destination yet but I was already enjoying the trip. The sight of the beach at the pier is lovely and managed to take some pictures even if we were only there for about 45 minutes, lunch time included. It was also cool talking to other tourists – Chinese, Polish and fellow Filipinos. I was pleasantly surprised to know that we have a Chinese family in the same van. I was able to practice my Chinese a bit. They approached me to translate! haha. I just started learning Chinese so was only able to help very (very very very) little. We also enjoyed chatting with other foreigners from the other van (American and Dutch) during lunch. I really cherished meeting different nationalities and sharing different cultures. God is really amazing making all these things superbly happen!
After lunch, we took a 15-minute boat ride to the starting point of the underground river. At the place, we were given a queue number and had to wait for our turn as there are other tourists who arrived at the place before us. The best thing to do while waiting? Take some more pictures! We saw this very inviting beach beside the Underground River. It was really splendid! It was actually hot during that time but we didn’t mind. We loved it!
Then our number was called. It was our turn to enter the most-awaited Underground River inside a many-million-year-old cave. On top of enjoying the wonder of God’s creation, our boatman leading the way for us was really incredible! His humor and creative imagination added colors to our journey. He was comparing all these naturally formed stalactites and stalagmites to all the shapes he could imagine and he has a special and funny way of saying them.
Pretty awesome: Ugong Rock
After visiting the Underground River, our tour guide led us to Ugong Rock (just about 15-minute ride). I was really more than glad to learn that we’ll do caving! Though I don’t like heights, I really love trekking (don’t be surprised, haha)!
I was sweating going up and down the cave/rock but it was exactly what I wanted. We were told that the rock was actually under the water many years ago.
Going down, you actually have a choice to take the zipline (either sitting or superman position) but as expected, I gave it a pass, haha. 🙂 But my friend Ella did and we can see it in her face how blissful she was!
Plus factors: Robinsons Mall and Bay walk
After resting a bit and quick shower at the hotel, we went out to have our dinner and bought some groceries at Robinsons Mall. That’s one good thing about the location of our hotel, there are a lot of stores around and the Robinsons Mall is just 15-minute tricycle ride.
Then we went to Baywalk. The place was surprisingly quiet. We were actually expecting something loud but our tricycle driver told us that it’s usually noisy and crowded but sadly, there was no scheduled activity for that night. But nonetheless, we still managed to enjoy our night. We saw this bicycle rentals and I was happy as I missed biking. So there, God has always His way to make you glad.
The following morning, I asked my friends that we’ll swim first before we pack our things and fly back home…
It was surely a very quick break but it is indeed filled with so much fun memories. But as for me, more than the amusing sights and sagas, I found the answer that I was looking for… I am excited for the days to come! 🙂
Photo credit: The featured image plus the breakfast photo was taken by Ella (not sure why the watermark is not reflected/included here but I think it’s because of the size limit. You can view more of her shots in her flicker account by click here. The rest was either taken by me or Anne using my phone.)